Private immigration detention at YVR…

 Feb 6, 2014

 Vancouver Sun Editorial
Why did Lucia Vega Jimenez die?

 Jimenez was a 42 year old hotel worker in Canada from Mexico, working and saving to support an ill mother back home.  Arrested On Dec. 1, she hanged herself while in the custody of a contracted private security firm, Genesis Security Group, at the immigration holding center at Vancouver Airport.  She died on Dec. 28 but no one knew until almost a month later and even now the details around the case are murky and no one, including federal Minister Blaney, is willing to say more.

 Kitchener-Waterloo Record – Donovan Vincent
Canadians troubled by ‘less fair’ society – Most people believe income gap widening, York University survey finds 

 The York survey was commissioned by the Toronto Star and involved almost 1900 people during January 2014.  78% think the income gap has grown, 70% think Canada is less fair, 55% are concerned about their own financial future and 67% are concerned about their children’s financial future.  80% think the provincial and federal governments can do to lot to improve these circumstances. 

Star Phoenix (SK)
No ‘us and them,’ Homeboy Industries founder says –

 Homeboy Industries is a well-known effort to combat gangs in Los Angeles, founded by a Catholic priest.  Father Greg Boyle, SJ, was speaking at the 10,000 Little Steps to Healing Conference and described the founding and development of the program now widely acknowledged as unusually effective.  “No hopeful kid has ever joined a gang. It’s never happened,” he said.

The Daily Tar Heel (South Carolina) – Kris Brown
South ranks low in social mobility study 

 The recent focus on income gaps has also focused on the question of social upward mobility.  This article is suggesting that where there is little upward mobility there are larger gaps in income disparity.  In Charlotte “only 4.4 percent of those born into the bottom fifth of national income distributions in Charlotte ever reach the top 20 percent in income — a drastic low compared to cities like San Jose, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah, which boast percentages of 12.9 and 10.8, respectively.” 

Robber gangs terrorize Colorado pot shops 

 The headline reminds one of Willie Sutton’s answer about why rob banks.  In Colorado, marijuana can be legally purchase for personal use.  However, the thieves may be the least of the problem since banks and security firms refuse to service the industry.  But says Mitch Morrissey, District Attorney for Denver, “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets shot.”

 Law Gazette (UK) – Catherine Baksi
‘Tough package’ of criminal justice measures in new bill 

 The British Justice Secretary has introduced in the Commons new bill that creates new offences and place harder sentences on others.  The bill sets up two years for those who run while serving non-custodial sentences;  possession of pornography becomes and offence, not just publishing it; convicted criminals will have to pay court costs; and terrorists and child rapists will not be eligible for automatic release at two thirds. 

 Counterpunch – James Kilgore
Smart Sentencing and the Future of Mass Incarceration 

The US Congress has passed the Smart Sentencing Act on Jan. 30, 2014.  The question is whether the implementation of the Act will introduce radical change or simply tweak the margins of the mandatory minimums that have resulted in mass incarceration.  The article describes the main feature of the new act.   The 7 page bill and its history are available at   Related article: The Sentencing Project – Declining prison populations may benefit incarcerated mothers the most News
U.S. Solitary Confinement Practices of Immigrant Detainees Deficient: International Human Rights Students, Experts at John Marshall in Chicago

 Solitary is a common practice throughout the US and Canadian prison systems but surprisingly it is also commonplace in immigration detention centers.  In this report the John Marshall Law School in Chicago details the human rights deficiencies of the practices and recommends how to achieve human treatment of detainees.

 News Ledger (West Sacramento, California) – Steve Marschke
‘Neighborhood court’ coming to West Sac: model follows SF and Davis

 Neighbourhood court is an effort to shuffle a number of minor offences to a RJ track run by trained panellists rather than the criminal courts system.  The accused must agreed and must complete the sentence.  The offence is then expunged.  Most offenses are alcohol and vandalism related.  

 Santa Barbara Independent (California) – Kelsey Brugger
Restorative Justice Revisited – Alternative Approach to Punishment Gains Traction 

 Judges, deputy DA’s, public defenders, lawyers, academics and the general public in Santa Barbara gather to hear Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, now a professor at Marquette University Law School, talk about ‘the heart and soul’ of RJ and debunk the notion that RJ is soft on crime and criminals.